Barcelona legend Carles Puyol follows in the footsteps of Matt Le Tissier

Former Barcelona defender Carles Puyol has followed in the footsteps of Southampton idol Matt Le Tissier by being awarded Athletic Bilbao’s ‘One Club Man’ award.

For the past three years the Basque side have honoured greats of the game who spent the entirety of their sports career at the same club.

Le Tissier, who played more than 500 games for the Saints between 1986 and 2002, scoring 209 goals, was the inaugural winner back in 2015.

The former England international flew over to attend the Basque derby between Athletic and Real Sociedad and was introduced to the San Mames crowd, where he was regaled by supporters.

He has been followed in the past two years by legendary AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini and former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sepp Maier.

Now Athletic have elected to award the prize to Catalan defender Puyol, who made 593 appearances for Barcelona between 1999 and 2014.

Puyol became something of a cult hero to Athletic supporters after the Copa del Rey final between the pair in 2012, when he strode across the Vicente Calderon in Madrid carrying both the Ikurrina (Basque flag) and the Senyera (Catalan flag) following the Blaugrana’s victory.

Puyol, now 40, will receive the award on May 5.

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